It’s time to stop the disillusionment and disappointment that comes with Googling yourself, only to discover you’re not in the top position. The dental industry has been continually bombarded with messages from SEO “experts” claiming that #1 search rankings are the end-all be-all to getting results on the web. The fact is, this is no longer possible and is irrelevant to building a successful online strategy. Yet, SEO companies continue to make these false claims, fearful of losing their company’s edge, even though Google has changed the game.
In the coming weeks you’ll be hearing a lot from us about how Google has changed the way they rank websites. In our series of articles, we will also be resetting the stage for what a successful SEO plan should be and setting realistic expectations. Whether you partner with Legwork or not, we vow to tell the truth. So, let’s start with the basic truths:
Don’t forget that Google isn’t free.
Google ultimately exists for one reason, to sell advertising. In fact, it’s a multi-billion dollar advertising machine! Google is NOT in business to optimize your website, but to optimize how they present searches to consumers with a combination of paid advertising and pertinent organic searches.
Those organic search results are becoming more and more specific to the individual user, not just global results for all. In other words, when we Google something, we each have our own unique desires and goals behind how we search for products and services, otherwise known as our INTENT. Google is continually perfecting their advertising platform by improving the process of matching search results with the individual user’s intent.
This bodes very well for search marketing (Google pay per click advertising) and why search marketing is on the rise and likely to be the only way to guarantee a #1 ranking for a specific search very soon. We will cover this more in-depth in a future article.
Now, Facebook is adding even more fuel to Google’s fire with a highly sophisticated advertising network. This has resulted in a tremendous grab of Google’s advertising market, leaving Google no choice but to react swiftly with new enhancements to their own platform. The result is more targeted search results based on each individual’s search and specific behavior.
To date, over 300 criteria are used in Googles search algorithms, and likely hundreds more that they don’t even publish. To make matters more difficult, Google doesn’t always notify the universe of their changes. So as we always say around here, only Google and God really know how the algorithms work. What we do know is that Google has virtually eliminated a user’s ability to perform their own general search to determine where they rank.
“This means that two people can stand 100 feet apart, enter the exact same search, and get completely different search results!”
If that wasn’t challenging enough, Google recently publicized that the Google Local platform (the widget that lists your business and reviews on their map listings) now uses a completely different algorithm. Google claims that 95% of the algorithm is based on the searcher’s location and 5% is based on your reviews (total number and score) and the optimization of the listing itself. This means that two people can stand 100 feet apart, enter the exact same search, and get completely different search results!
The problem started long before Google became more sophisticated.
The search ranking problem started when the SEO industry began making claims that you must rank #1 or you were failing, preying on either your fear or your competitive spirit. It worked because it was easy to demonstrate that you weren’t #1, and then boldly claim the ability to get you to the top. Even worse is the trap of Googling yourself, proving that they were right…in essence, trapping yourself into their erroneous sales tactics.
What the SEO companies didn’t know is that they were slowly painting themselves into a corner. Now that the game has become more sophisticated, SEO companies simply have no way of undoing all of those bold claims. It’s now a race to the bottom. The fact is, “Googling” yourself has become a worthless exercise and proves absolutely nothing.
So what does it all really mean?
We’re setting the record straight with our series of articles about Google rankings and how we’re not the typical SEO company. We’re telling the truth, making sure you know what’s real and what’s not.